Biden Signs Executive Order Increasing Food Assistance Benefits
President Joe Biden signed another executive order on Friday, which focuses on expanding food assistance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This cannot be who we are as a country,” he said before signing the order. “These are not the values of our nation. We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people get evicted because of nothing they did themselves. We cannot watch people lose their jobs. We have to act.”
The order calls on the Department of Agriculture to consider enhancing Pandemic-EBT benefits by 15%, giving family with three children more than $100 in extra support every two months. The Pandemic-EBT program was launched as part of Congress’ March relief package and aims to supplement low-income families whose children are no longer receiving free or reduced-price meals from their currently closed schools.
Although the relief bill Congress passed in December already increases the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 15% through June, Biden’s measure extends it through September.
The order also directs the Department of Agriculture to consider allowing states to increase food stamp benefits for approximately 12 million Americans who did not benefit from the initial increase passed by Congress.
Biden also requested the department to look into editing the Thrifty Food Plan whose calculations about what kinds of benefits food stamps will provide were determined in the 1970s, to base it on the current cost of food today.